Sergei Banevich is justifiably known as a classic of children's music. In the words of the renowned composer Isaak Shvarts, his works are "music written by the easy hand of a great maestro."
Banevich's activity is connected not just with musical education (he initiated international children's music festivals in St Petersburg), but also in engaging children in musical theatre. He began to compose for young audiences at the very start of his artistic career. His works include the operas The Story of Kai and Gerda, The Snuff-Box Town, Twelve Months and Ferdinand the Magnificent and the ballets The Mermaid, Thumbelina and Bambi among others. Several generations of audiences have been raised on his music.
The Brave Hare is Banevich's fourth opera staged at the Mariinsky Theatre. Last season at the Prokofiev Hall chamber venue came premieres of An Opera about Porridge, a Cat and Milk after motifs of the tale by Dmitry Mamin-Sibiryak and Scenes from the Life of Nikolenka Irtenievbased on motifs of Leo Tolstoy's autobiographical trilogy. On 30 November the historic stage will host a revival of The Story of Kai and Gerda.
The opera The Brave Hare (2016), specially commissioned by the Mariinsky Theatre, is targeted towards very young audiences. It is a touching, dynamic and somewhat sad story. It is based on Mamin-Sibiryak's tale About a Brave Hare – Long Ears, Slanting Eyes, Short Tail from the anthology Tales for Alyonushka. The work, simple in terms of compositional construction, subtly and laconically finds a lively response with both children and parents. As in any fairy-tale, here the beasts are given human characteristics: the village dandy-dog Postoiko, the coquette Squirrel and the boastful yet sympathy-seeking Hare. As a composer, Banevich well understands the laws of little children's perception and is able to compose accessible but professional music for them.Olga Vokina